Post War Glamour Girls / Colour of Spring – The Fulford Arms, York, 17th November 2015

Posted: 18 November 2015 in Live

Christopher Nosnibor

York, on a wet, windy night in November. The Ouse has breached once more, and it feels like the end of the world is nigh. Again. You’d expect northerners to be made of sterner stuff, but it seems the city’s gig goers have given in to the urge to hibernate, or otherwise trot out the wimpish ‘not on a school night’ line. It’s their loss, and it’s no doubt better for a band to play to a moderate, but enthusiastic crowd than to a larger indifferent one, and it does mean getting serves isn’t an issue (although deciding which beer to have is. It’s not ever venue that had half a dozen hand—pulled ales on at £3.40 a pint). And for me, given that Post War Glamour Girls have produced two of my favourite albums of the last three years, while proving themselves to be a consistently killer live band, missing this show was never an option.

Ahead of Leeds’ finest taking to the stage, relative newcomers to the York scene, Colour of Spring show us what they’ve got.

Now, it’s easy to knock ‘the kids’ for rehashing the music of my youth, but then, the very fabric of musical history is woven from the new generation raiding their parents’ collections. Replicating the sounds of the early 90s in 2015 isn’t really any different from bands in the early 90s ripping off Led Zeppelin or The Doors, or the whole Britpop explosion deriving from the first wave of British pop in the 60s. So, Colour of Spring are four gangly youths with a nice collection of beards, and who make jangling shoegaze. There’s a raggedness to their sound, and a tangible energy between the band members. ‘Sky’ is a perfectly poised recreation of a huge swathe of NME / Melody Maker / John Peel indie, and the last track of the set – which the bassist had to play without an A string – was nicely atmospheric and reminiscent of Slowdive, only with shouty vocals.

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Colour of Spring

It may be the night before their launch gig for album number two in their hometown of Leeds, but this is no warm-up show. Post War Glamour Girls don’t do warm-ups or have a B-game, and they don’t do convention. So instead of playing a large chunk of the new album and wrapping up with a couple of crowd-pleasing oldies, they fire off the set with a slightly sped-up rendition of ‘Little Land’ from their debut before serving up an unreleased track.

It’s around this point my notes taper out, and what notes I have are illegible. Granted, my handwriting’s pretty dismal at the best of times, but I feel I must stress that it’s not because I’m one of those music journalists who gets trolleyed and scrapes together a vague, impressionistic write up that I let it slide: the simple fact is I was too immersed in the performance to take down the set-list and annotate my observations in detail. But what’s every bit as striking as their magnificent hooks and the overall tightness is just how much Post War Glamour Girls are in constant transition. James Smith exudes discontent and an all-consuming drive to keep moving forwards. There’s a strong sense that they’re not doing this for the glory or the money, but through a compulsion that can’t be satisfied and won’t abate.

Guitarist James Thorpe, now long-haired and bearded, lofts his guitar to unleash squalls of feedback. His presence seems more prominent than previously, and provides a perfect counterpoint to Alice Scott’s unswerving focus on laying down relentlessly solid grooves.

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Post War Glamour Girls

The pairing of ‘Jazz Funerals’ and the thumping pop romp ‘Felonius Punk’ ratchets up the fury toward the end of the set, which at 40 minutes, is short, but they’re clearly keen adherents to the adage that you should always leave the crowd wanting more. They conclude with the slow-burning, multi-faceted, and multi-sectioned epic from Feeling Strange, ‘Cannonball Villages’, and finds Smith spewing vitriol as he paces in front of the stage while the band pour every last ounce of effort into a rousing finale.

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Post War Glamour Girls

I’ve already lost count of the number of times I’ve seen Post War Glamour Girls in the last four years, but they still elicit the same buzz of excitement as the first time I caught them. While I usually endeavour to maintain a sense of critical distance, sod it, they’re one of the best, most exciting and one of the few truly unique bands around, capable of evoking a vast array of emotions as well as a pure gut response. They’re still on tour. The new album is belting. Go and see them, hear them: you won’t regret it.

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